Question: Hey Pastor, I have a question!? Sometimes when the Prayer of the Church is offered, you offer prayers for President George Bush, Governor Rod Blagojevich and others who are in public authority.? You also lead us in prayer for those elected to positions over us within the church, such as LCMS President Rev. Gerald Keischnick or our Northern Illinois District President, Rev. William Ameiss.
All that is fine and I?m glad that we do pray for them.? However, why do you name then as ?George, Rod, Gerald, and William? during the course of the prayer rather than using their more formal titles?? It seems to me that we ought to refer to them more formally and thus show respect for the office that they hold.? Thanks.
Answer: Thanks for writing.? You have an excellent question.? In fact, up until a few months ago, I operated under the same impression.
Our church body, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, has a group entitled the Commission on Worship.? They explained that we must remember that we are offering the prayer to God and thus, are addressing Him ? not the individual people so named in the prayer.? God knows
each of us by our name and in His loving sight, we are all the same, that is, His children.? Understood this way, that we are NOT addressing those individuals, but God, Himself, it makes perfect sense to name those individuals by their first name.
Certainly, I would agree wholeheartedly that if any of these individuals were to be among us, when we addressed them in conversation, we would want to show the same respect for their office that you mention in your question above.
Thanks for your thoughtful question.